In November 2018, Tamera Mowry-Housley‘s life was forever changed when she was woken up to a call with unimaginable news.
The actress and former talk show host learned that her 18-year-old niece Alaina Housley — who she often referred to as her “favorite Housley” — had been killed in a mass shooting with 11 others at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.
Now, for the first time since Alaina’s death, Mowry-Housley, 44, is detailing the dark day and its aftermath in an exclusive excerpt from her new book You Should Sit Down for This (out Tuesday, Oct. 4), in which she also shares her life story, from child stardom on Sister, Sister to a daytime TV stint on The Real.
On the night of November 7, 2018, not too long after going to sleep, my husband’s phone rang. It was Arik, Adam’s brother, “Alaina went out dancing with friends, and there was a shooting—it’s all I know right now.”
A shooting? Alaina? This is impossible, she has to be okay. The same nightmare that has destroyed too many families in this country had arrived in our bedroom—and unfortunately the nightmare was real.
Alaina Housley. My sweet, sweet Alaina, you stole my heart when you were just five years old. By now you all know (I’m talking to you, readers!) I was emailing back and forth with Adam before I met him in person. In the first picture he sent me he was standing next to a tiny, bright-eyed, mocha-skinned beauty whose smile was larger than life. Alaina . . . your uncle was wise to include you in the first photo he shared with me, because who could resist your cuteness? Who wouldn’t want to go out with a man who so clearly adored his niece? I’ll admit it, when I first saw that picture, I thought, Okay, I can definitely have kids with this man. If there’s any chance they’ll look like her, I’m all in!
Alaina, you and I clicked instantly. We bonded over fun, girly things like manicures, hair braiding, makeup, and clothes. I was in love with Adam, and I was smitten with your entire family, but it didn’t take me long to come to a surprising conclusion. That you, Alaina, were my favorite Housley. You know that, right, Alaina? And I’m sorry for Adam! But it’s the honest-to-God truth. We sang so well together, too. I treasure the photograph of us right after we sang the national anthem together before the first Napa Valley 1839 soccer game. I often show that picture to people because it captures the essence of our relationship. Our faces show lots of love with a big side of silly. We look so proud and happy in that picture! Remember how hard it is to hit that crazy high note at the end? That note is no joke! That day you taught me that there is something even more joyful than singing, and that’s singing with someone whom you love with all your heart.
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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Daniela Avila